CoE to review Turkey’s compliance with missing persons and property-related Court judgments

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) convenes between March 13 and 15, 2018, to review, among others, Turkey’s compliance with European Court of Human Rights judgements in relation to missing persons and Turkish-occupied properties in the northern part of Cyprus.

Earlier this month, human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades sent a letter to the Secretariat of the Committee in respect to the payment of just satisfaction (compensation) and the undertaking of individual measures concerning the Arestis-Xenides group of cases. In the letter he notes that Turkey is continuing to act in total disregard to the Applicants’ rights, which it has been violating since 1974 and takes no account of the various interim resolutions adopted by the Committee of Ministers.

Concerning individual measures, the Cypriot lawyer points moreover to the ECHR judgement of December 2017 in the case Joannou v. Turkey. The latter relates to the applicant’s property in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, for which she sought compensation from the immovable property commission (IPC) in 2008. Because of its ineffectiveness, Joannou later applied to the ECHR, which unanimously accepted the applicant’s complaint, finding IPC proceedings protracted and ineffective. The Court also awarded Joannou part of her claim for just satisfaction, her lawyer notes.

Demetriades says that the above, even though not yet final, support the applicants’ points about the ineffectiveness of the IPC, as well as the need for the Committee of Ministers to take appropriate steps to secure the payment of the just satisfaction awarded and individual measures of restoration to the applicants’ possessions and homes.

In a separate letter, the lawyer also refers to the payment of just satisfaction and the individual measures required by the Varnana and Others judgment, concerning missing persons. He invites finally the Committee of Ministers to declare that Turkey violates Article 3 of the CoE stature, with regards to respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

So far, Ankara has not paid damages relating to certain cases concerning missing persons and property claims, awarded by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to Cypriot applicants, for a number of violations committed in Cyprus during and after the 1974 Turkish invasion, that led to the islands division.

Moreover, with its 2001 judgement the Court found that there had been 14 violations of the Convention, inter-alia regarding Greek-Cypriot missing persons and their relatives, the home and property of displaced persons and the living conditions of Greek Cypriots in Karpas region. In a relevant decision, in May 2014, the Court ordered Turkey to pay Euros 90 mln in damages to enclaved Greek Cypriots and relatives of missing persons.

The representatives of the 47 member States of the Council of Europe examine the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in accordance with the supervisory role of the Committee of Ministers, under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: Cyprus News Agency